What is sweat balm? 

What is a sweat balm and what do they do? It’s what you want if you want to release water retention, reduce the look of cellulite, and have glowing, ageless skin. It goes both ways: exercise improves circulation, and better circulation (via a stronger heart and better-nourished cells) improves exercise. Add powerful botanicals to the mix to maximize the benefits of the time the balm spends on skin, and you have a winning recipe for achieving your fitness (and skin fitness) goals! 

The ingredients in a sweat gel should work to improve circulation and promote body heat, thus sweating. This balm will sit above skin and trap heat, enhancing the effectiveness of your workout by forcing your skin to push sweat above the gel.

Usually this effect is achieved using occlusive moisturizers, and may also include botanicals, vitamins, and other nutrients to enhance exercise, nourish skin, and hydrate so you get both internal and external health benefits.


An "occlusive" is a waxy substance that provides a tight barrier. In medical terms, occlusive means to "shut off." 

In the fitness world however, an occlusive gives the sweat gel a thermic effect to produce internal heat; as a result, you’ll sweat profusely, workout efficiently, burn calories, increase circulation, and possibly lose some water weight. 

When applying a sweat balm before exercise, one should be especially generous with the problem areas where fat accumulates, like thighs, back of legs, belly, and arms. The sweat balm should be used alone and not layered under or over creams as those could diminish the consistency of the sweat gel over your skin. 

An effective sweat balm should contain powerful botanicals packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other anti-aging ingredients to give you healthy, hydrated, and youthful skin. Ideal moisturizing ingredients for this purpose include coconut oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. And to soften and promote healthy skin cell turnover, vitamins E and A make great additions. And, of course, like any skincare product, a good sweat balm should be free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates.


Moisturizers are generally placed in one of three categories: emollients, humectants, or occlusives. Emollients are light oils or butters that smooth and soften; humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, attract other water molecules in the immediate environment to bind with them to enhance water absorption. Sweat gels contain occlusive moisturizing ingredients that contain high-lipid, often wax-like ingredients that form a film over skin, lock in moisture, and act as a barrier rather than soaking in. 

  • Coconut oil: A great example of an emollient that creates an occlusive barrier in a sweat gel. Coconut oil fires up your internal furnace to sweat and exercise efficiently. This fights water retention and cellulite and gives skin smoother appearance. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even antifungal properties. And coconut oil keeps you smelling fresh during your workout!